OCTOBER 28, 2018

Is Your Brand Confident?

Ross Mitchell, Greg VanderPol


The importance of confidence is generally well recognized.  Whether it’s making one seem more attractive, or even smarter than reality, confidence plays a large role in informing how people perceive others. Look no further than Donald Trump to see just how far confidence can take someone. Despite little qualifications otherwise, Trump has managed to parlay sheer confidence into the presidency itself.

What does this have to do with brands? A lot. For brands to work optimally, they should always project confidence. It is the responsibility of the brand itself to demonstrate that it knows who they are and truly believe it. In other words, brands might benefit from listening to self-help gurus when it comes to their brand strategy – smile, stand up straight, speak clearly and inspire confidence.

The recent explosion of interest in brand authenticity represents just one aspect of confidence. Failures of authenticity – of which there are many, – often are in part a reflection of an unconfident or conflicted brand. In short, a brand that doesn’t really seem to believe itself. For example, after several recent high-profile corporate flubs, many of the subsequent apology ads have been received poorly, having a message that doesn’t feel aligned with the company’s actual beliefs and culture. 

Building confidence in your brand is another reason to invest in design. In this sense, design can best be understood as the confident expression of the essence of a brand. Why do consumers love and businesses envy Apple? There are of course, many reasons, however one of the primary ones is that Apple inhabits their brand with total conviction. And while it’s debatable whether Apple’s products are the best, they are always presented with total confidence. For many companies, there are a variety of reasons why they may lack the ability to express themselves confidently. Whether in product design, messaging, or corporate strategy; design and design thinking are key tools that can be used to build confidence into your brand.